At times, someone would ask me, "What it takes for a novice to kick off at playing blues even better? " My answer remains same always which is: when you approach a new musical instrument, especially if you are new to learning music, you should indulge in learning the instrument technique first, rather than focusing on music of a particular style. Why? For the sheer reason that if you keep focusing on the same genre, your music 'vocabulary' will stay limited.
There are many blues harp players who work wondrous on the first 6 harmonica holes but they don't know how to perform well on holes 8,9 and 10. Then there are those who can build amazing solos on the 12 bars blues structure; nonetheless, when called by the host during a jam session to play a song of different music genre, then they are in deep trouble. Persumably, the harmonica is so religiously connected with blues music that in my opinion, new harmonica players should be encouraged to explore rock, reggae, swing, classical, and even pop music.
The more broader your experience gets (by practising different styles of music) the more skills are acquired by you. For instance; Jazz music is a gold mine when learning how to improvise, reggae music whereas funk style can give you strong rhythm foundations. On the other hand pop music and other modern styles can be quite interesting rather fun-filled. l'm happy to share some tips with new blues harmonica players premised on the above discussion.
Learn the first, fourth and fifth chords of the 12 bar blues structure.
In case of G blues, grab you harmonica and learn to play the following 2nd position elements: '1st chord' (the G chord) drawing holes 1,2 and 3 at the same time, and '4th cord' (the C chord) blowing 1,2 and 3 holes (every holes work fine here).
Draw hole 1 or hole 4 to get the fifth chord root note (the one of the D chord).
With these three elements you can stay on a standard blues progression by playing the right notes and if you are really new to harmonica, you may concentrate on keeping up the tempo and rhythm while playing it. A time will come when you will be skillfully playing your killing solos.
Bear in mind, It's totally up to you whether the concepts that you just learnt can be fruitful or of no use at all. Let me explain; if you take it serious and just play it over and over again, you will soon excel in what you were doing, but if you stop playing and spend 10 minutes gathering information regarding where did it came from, it will open a new door of queries to you. l'm talking about few elements of music theory like scale harmonization and the chord structure. Keeping up your interest in what you are doing will lead you, little by little, to learn better, faster and smarter.
You should take every bit of practice as part of a more complex assignment and evaluate the purpose of that single element in a global perspective. In this way, every single thing will turn out to be a new tool for your learning experience, and will also work as a stimulus for you to grab more knowledge.
I hope you take this article as a jump start for your learning journey. Keep harping!